Alan Wake was the one I did complete. Like BioShock 2 recently, it’s a rare game that actually got better the more I played. The final area, in particular, was a terrific culmination, playing out almost like a highlights package of everything that had gone before. And the story “concluded” in a most satisfying manner.
What I liked most was the core combat. Your torch drains the darkness from an enemy until, once depleted, you can kill them with your firearm. It is essentially a shield system. Fans of Halo’s needler and pistol combo will feel right at home.
Multiple enemies mean you’re choosing whether to finish them off one at a time or torch them all first. Or even try to take them all out with an explosive. Some enemies regenerate the darkness; some have the advantage of speed, making it difficult to keep your torch on them; others stand back and hurl projectile attacks; others charge you; others are bigger and can nearly kill you in one hit if they get too close.
Flares can be used either defensively where you hold one above your head, its light pushing the enemies back, or offensively if you shoot a crowd of enemies with the flare gun. Environmental light sources can provide either shelter and a quick health boost or, in the case of spotlights, be turned into turrets.
It works because these few basic elements are reconfigured to provide greater challenge and variety. You find yourself constantly re-evaluating targets and switching between offensive and defensive tactics. It really demonstrates how interesting survival horror can be as an action game when in the hands of an experienced action game developer.
I also nearly finished Mass Effect 2, at long last. My playthrough had previously been interrupted thanks to the red ring of death, but I’m now in the home stretch with no missions left aside from leaping through the Omega Relay. Last night I recruited the final squad member – a very cool surprise addition to the cast, I must admit – and tidied up a bunch of side quests. I have not slept with a crew member. My Shepard only has eyes for Liara.
And finally, the PlayStation in this post title refers to a PlayStation function happening in Sydney next week. Sony have offered to invite four Kotaku readers (plus a guest each) along to this top secret event. I’ll be contacting some of you via email over the next day or so to ask if you’d be willing to attend. So keep an eye out for that.